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Will CBD Cause a Positive Drug Test?



Will you easily pass a marijuana drug test if you use cannabidiol (CBD) oil? Most likely, yes. Yet it’s not 100% certain. While no standard CBD drug test exists per se, there is a slight chance—under certain circumstances—that CBD oil could trigger a false positive.

However, records of such instances and the reasons behind them are nonexistent or impossible to trace. Therefore, we can assume, with relative safety, that the risk of testing positive for an illegal substance when using CBD oil is very low.

The Hemp Act of 2018

Also, it shouldn’t really matter—to anyone. With the latest legislation (U.S. Farm Bill of 2018), hemp was declared legal for farming (with certain provisions), and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) removed CBD off its list of Schedule I illegal substances.

The Hemp Act of 2018

RELATED: CBD No Longer A Schedule 1 Drug

CBD cannot be abused in any way, and it has been scientifically proven to have medicinal value for the treatment of intractable epilepsy. The compound is still being medically researched for a host of other health and medicinal benefits, so it makes sense that even DEA employees don’t get tested for CBD.

“Congress did not clearly define abuse under the Controlled Substances Act. But for federal agencies responsible for classifying drugs, abuse is when individuals take a substance recreationally and develop personal health hazards or pose other risks to society as a whole,” according to a Vox article on FDA drug scheduling. [1] [2]

Yet if you read here, you’re perhaps still stressing that a positive CBD test could land you in trouble with your employer or law enforcement, so let’s unpack the reasons you should probably not have to worry about this.

1. Can I Easily Test Positive for CBD with Standard Testing? 

Not using the standard drug test, nope. It was not designed to detect CBD, simple as that.

Of course, it’s possible to test for the presence of the compound, but that would involve CBD testing by a professional testing company specifically for a CBD analyte. CBD is a chemical compound, which means that your body will metabolize it in some way, which means it can be detected in tests.

Yet the process is costly and is usually not the route law enforcement would take.

Can I Easily Test Positive for CBD with Standard Testing?

In fact, many companies don’t offer this kind of testing, even big ones like Quest Diagnostics. Furthermore, according to Barry Sample, Quest director of science and technology for employer solutions, it’s also not part of any employer drug testing program at the company. [3]

2. But What about a False Positive When I Use Only CBD Oil? 

Yes, that could be problematic. But then the problem is not CBD. It’s most likely tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that’s causing the positive test, which means the CBD oil you’re using is too high in the THC compound. Read on to learn more about the legalities around this. For now, know that you do still get THC in when ingesting a whole-plant CBD oil.

Or, unfortunately, it means you’re using cannabis oil instead of a high-quality CBD oil.

THC-rich cannabis is defined as “marijuana” by federal law, which is an illegal Schedule I substance. It causes the “high” weed is known for, is psychologically addictive, and can be harmful in high quantities, including in children and young people.

It’s very important to know exactly what you’re taking so as to avoid positive testing because of THC. Since hemp market regulation is currently in flux, you have to be careful in your CBD oil product choices. This is because most states and the federal government are still devising and managing rules and regulations to be implemented, even though federal law has eased up with regard to CBD. [4]

3. But How Will I Know My Product Will Pass the Test? 

That’s easy—research till you find a product where a lab report of its content is available to the public. Ethical manufacturers send their products to third-party laboratories to have their products tested for compound content. It will clearly show what’s in the oil you’re using.

That said, don’t be put off if the product does contain a small amount of THC. This is not necessarily illegal (read below), and CBD works well with the other compounds in cannabis. It’s called the “Entourage Effect,” a recognized phenomenon among researchers of cannabis and its health properties.

Research till you find a product where a lab report of its content is available to the public.

RELATED: Understanding the Entourage Effect of Cannabinoids

4. Should I Stop Using Whole-Plant CBD Oil, if THC is Illegal? 

No need for that, as said, because THC is not completely illegal—only a certain amount of it in any given product or Cannabis Sativa plant. The government recognizes that in some manufacturing processes, a small amount of THC might still find its way into the CBD oil. Also, CBD often works best in tandem with other cannabinoids and terpenes. Therefore, provision for 0.3% THC content has been made in the law, and cannabis is even redefined as “hemp” in such a case.

However, if you take very high doses of whole-plant CBD oil, THC could accumulate in your body over time. In rare cases, this might give a false positive.

Speaking to Vice.com, Brenda Gannon, a toxicologist and laboratory director at Steep Hill Arkansas, says that “...depending on a number of parameters—including (the) amount consumed, how often one uses CBD products, and body composition—it is possible that these trace amounts of THC could accumulate and then be detected in a drug test...Because CBD is chemically distinct from THC, it is unlikely that pure CBD would be detected in these types of drug tests. However, hemp-based CBD products often contain trace amounts of THC." [3]

5. Are Some Tests Less Likely to Give a False Positive? 

Yes, if a bodily fluid such as saliva or urine gets tested. This is because the substance will clear much faster from these fluids than, for instance, hair. The latter is used to test for chronic (meaning “long-term”) use, but again—if the THC content of the product you’re ingesting is not too high, your hair will very likely also test negative.

Drug tests are not able to detect how CBD or THC was ingested.

RELATED: CBD Oil Vs. CBD Capsules—Which Is the Best?

6. Will a Test Be Able to Show How I’ve Administered the CBD Oil? 

No, tests are not able to detect how CBD or THC was ingested. “No workforce drug test commonly used will be able to tell how much was used, a pattern of use, or whether or not someone was impaired,” according to Vice.com. [3]

So, it’s clear that CBD testing is possible but is very unlikely responsible for a regular drug test positive. If you do test positive, it would probably be best to scrutinize your CBD oil product or discuss its use with your employer or the workplace’s Human Resources Department. Few states have, so far, defined “impairment due to marijuana use,” so this is a legal grey area in most.

Sources:

  1. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms
  2. https://www.vox.com/2014/9/25/6842187/drug-schedule-list-marijuana
  3. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xwjmpj/cbd-drug-test
  4. https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/herbs-botanicals/hemp-and-cbd-after-2018-farm-bill

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